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7 Meeting Practices Guaranteed to Improve Efficiency and Drive Results


Leverage meetings to deliver results. 

Stuck in meetings all day? Wish you were getting real work done?  You are not alone.  As leaders, we all intend to have effective meetings, but the old meeting methodologies don’t always work.  Today’s highly responsive organizations are rethinking outdated meeting techniques and energizing their companies with new meeting behaviors.

Your meeting style reflects your organization’s culture.

I have spent over 25 years leading organizations.  I have been in large corporate functions, small nimble manufacturing teams and all-volunteer non-profits.  Over the years, I have learned that the quality of the meetings reflects the overall vibe of the organization.  When meetings are long information sharing forums, the organization tends to be more sluggish and focused on the idea of making improvements vs. quickly adopting new ways to improve.  Organizations that have more frequent, action-oriented meetings embody a culture of fast, positive forward movement to achieve their business objectives.

Lose the outdated, keep what works, and embrace the latest.

Re-engineer your meeting structure to save time, motivate your employees and deliver the results you need to succeed in this new fast-paced world.

  • Make decisions during the meeting by delegating authority to meeting attendees
  • Shorten your meetings to drive focus and to deliver your objective
  • Hold brief daily meetings to breakthrough a project constraint or solve a critical business issue
  • Optimize digitization by leveraging the skills of your Millennials

7 Key meeting practices:

What companies were doing yesterday, what they should do tomorrow, and why you should make the change.

1. Who Should Be There?

Historically, meetings included a leader, notetaker, and functional representation. Instead, in addition to a leader and notetaker, engage key cross-functional members empowered to make decisions. The difference: progress will be made when alignments happen IN the meeting. Don’t waste time gathering input from decision-makers who aren’t in the room.

2. What’s the Focus?

We’ve all been in meetings that have agendas outlined by topic, expected outcome, and timing. Why not work with a flexible agenda that changes to match current business constraints or urgent problems needing a fix? If different decision makers are required based on the issues at hand, invite them. You’ll have the focus and key players to address the most pressing challenges in a timely manner.

3. Your meeting was HOW long?

Traditionally, companies schedule monthly meetings lasting 1-2 hours. In contrast, as part of a culture that is nimble and responsive, leading companies hold weekly or daily meetings reduced to the shortest length of time required to drive timely decisions and keep everyone engaged and actively participating. Less time in meetings means more time to focus on delivering the work.

4. Empower Your People.

If I ask you to consider which decision makers are usually present at meetings, team leaders, middle and senior management may come to mind. I encourage you to challenge this assumption. Imagine team members being empowered to make decisions that have been delegated to them. Employees will feel valued, motivated and engaged.

5. Embrace Digitization.

Meetings are often held where the functional team is physically located. With focus on ensuring the optimal cross-functional decision makers are participating, companies of tomorrow embrace alternatives to in-person meetings by optimizing digital and social tools. Don’t be afraid to learn from your millennials; they’re known for constantly updating the tools in their toolbox (of course, they call them apps).

6. Amp Up Accountability.

Follow-up items are documented and reviewed at the next meeting. This keeps track of action items, but does it really drive motivation to be accountable? Consider practices where the owner of each action item proactively sends an update prior to the next meeting, ensuring forward momentum and eliminating the wait time between meetings. Communicate decisions to the relevant people as they’re made. This behavior drives the work forward and may reduce the number of people needing to attend next time to get an update. Now we’re talking personal accountability!

7. Evaluate and Improve.

It’s great to solicit feedback at the end of meetings, but how do you squeeze this into a jam-packed agenda and ensure the information gathered is used in a meaningful way? What about asking 2-3 survey questions at the end of each meeting, with the use of emojis for quick responses and short answers. The meeting leader ensures any trends are addressed. If you ask employees for their opinion, they need to know they’ve been heard to encourage open dialogue and to build trust.

Time to start the transformation

Challenge the way you think about meetings. Be deliberate, ensuring the right people are there, the most pressing challenges are top priority, and you’re optimizing digital tools to support engagement and participation.  Now more than ever you must empower and leverage your most valuable asset – your people.  Enable them by delegating decision making, enhancing accountability, and responding meaningfully to their feedback. Take these best practices into account and you’ll create energizing meetings which will deliver improved business results in the most efficient way possible.

Do you have experience incorporating these key meeting practices within your organization, or other meeting practices to share? Tell us about the changes your meetings have undergone and the impact it’s had by commenting below.

Author


Tracy Kosiarek has been leading Supply Network Operations for over 25 years. She retired from Procter and Gamble with expertise in Logistics Operations, SAP Project Implementations, Supply Chain Planning and Packaging Artwork Continuous Improvement. During her career at P&G, she led significant change in Asia and North America across multiple businesses. She is currently working for Zinata Inc. as a consultant leading Supply Network Process Improvements.

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    Jeanne Reisinger

    I am amazed at how much time is wasted in poorly planned or poorly run meetings. This article provides the guidance everyone needs to improve their meeting effectiveness. I am especially keen on the concept of amping up accountability – that is the key to driving real change and improvement.

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